Psalms – Chapter 29

The More Things Change, The More G-d Stays the Same

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Remember how Psalm 24 was the Psalm we recite when we return the Torah to the Ark except on Shabbos morning? Well, this Psalm is the one we recite when returning the Torah on Shabbos mornings.

David tells the prominent people to prepare themselves for G-d. Honor and might rightfully belong to Him, so prepare for Him the honor He deserves. Bow down before Him, in awe of His holiness.

The voice of G-d is on the waters. (For example, He split the Red Sea at the time of the Exodus. It could also refer to the spirit of G-d hovering above the waters in Genesis 1:2.) G-d’s voice is powerful and majestic. His voice splits cedars (occasionally a symbol of arrogant people, as in Isaiah 2, Ezekiel 31, Zechariah 11, et al). G-d’s voice makes the mighty trees, and even mountains, tremble and jump about. G-d’s voice cuts like a flame; it shakes the plains, as it did the Sinai when the Torah was given. G-d’s voice is a source of goodness, even as it intimidates; it enables fragile animals to birth their young while it strips the trees of their bark (or perhaps strips the forest of its trees). Those in G-d’s Temple will acknowledge His glory.

G-d metaphorically sat on His “throne” at the time of the flood (in the days of Noah); as He did then, so will He do forever. (That is, G-d is the Eternal King. A lot changes down here, but G-d is everlasting and His reign is unending.) G-d will strengthen His people and bless them with peace.

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